Polaris Prize long list announced at the Waldorf Hotel
It as a total shut-out for Quebec dubstep, but Georgia Straight cover star Kathryn Calder was among the artists who made the Polaris long list of nominees, revealed at a fancy press conference at the Waldorf this morning (June 14). Calder's nomination, for the album Bright and Vivid, was announced by another Georgia Straight cover star, Dan Mangan, who joined Georgia Straight cover star Veda Hille and Hannah Georgas (Hannah, maybe we can talk when the new record comes out) to unfurl the list of 40 albums.
Host Lana Gay mentioned that Mangan was voted by Straight readers last year as the local celeb they'd most like to nail, and now we're mentioning it too. More relevantly, Mangan's Oh Fortune was one of five albums by B.C artists to receive a nomination; he shares the honour with Calder, Japandroids (Celebration Rock), Yukon Blonde (Tiger Talk), and—if we my be so bold as to call her local—Grimes (Visions).
Polaris president Steve Jordan told the Straight that it was somebody back at the Polaris office in Toronto who suggested moving the operation to the West Coast this year. "Last time we checked, Vancouver is still part of Canada," he said. As any Polaris juror will tell you, an ongoing debate over regionalism is part of the background noise of the selection process every year. Jordan has his own take.
"People aren't just from one place," he said. "Take Tegan and Sara. Are they Calgary's Tegan and Sara, are they Vancouver's Tegan and Sara, or are they Montreal's Tegan and Sara? We actually don't think the artists are as interested in repping their hometown as the fans on the jury sometimes are in claiming something for them. As important as it is for us to be inclusive, it's more important to just pick the best album."
He's right, but besides mentioning that Leonard Cohen, Drake, Kathleen Edwards, Feist, Fucked Up, Great Lake Swimmers, the Joel Plaskett Emergency, Handsome Furs, and the Weeknd are among the artists we all expected to receive a nomination, we're still going to make you wait for the rest of the long list (hometown pride is one thing, typing all this stuff out is another).
The Polaris short list will be announced on July 17, with the grand prize winner scoring their $30,000 prize in Toronto on September 24.
Meanwhile, Steve Jordan invites y'all to a Polaris party at the Waldorf tonight. "Come on down and hear my half hour set of dub reggae," he said. Oh, and Mangan sidled up to declare that "my whole life, all I've wanted to be is the guy Mike Usinger would most like to nail..." The singer-songwriter also remarked that he thought the long list was very strong, "But," he added, echoing a few other people at the event, "where's Zeus?"
Update: you can see the full list at the Polaris website.